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Credit Reports

A credit report is a record of an individual's financial information that is maintained by credit bureaus, like Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It is provided to businesses upon request. It helps evaluate potential borrowers. This document includes a person's name, former and current address, employment, as well as credit and loan histories, inquiries, collection and public records including tax liens and bankruptcy filings. Further, seven years' worth of payment history on each credit card is presented on a credit report, as well credit limits and loan records.

The data can appear in different forms based on where you get your report. Your credit data appears in codes and abbreviations that lenders can understand. Consumer credit reports, however, appear in easy-to-read formats.

Credit card companies and lenders send electronic reports on your financial information to credit bureaus. Even though there is no particular reporting schedule, most companies update the bureaus every 30 days. Courts, post offices, and tax agencies also send their own records.

Personal data, like addresses and names, stay on your record indefinitely or until a change is reported, but most other information stays for seven years. There are expiration dates when it comes to some negative records. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for instance, stays on a credit report for ten years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on for seven years, as do charge-offs. Closed accounts stay on for seven years, if the account was paid late. Judgments remain for seven years from the filing date, and tax liens stay on for fifteen or more years if they are unpaid.